COVID broadband funding is a plus for rural residents


COVID broadband funding is a plus for rural residents

The Missouri Director of Agriculture says Governor Parson’s statewide 50-million-dollar broadband initiative, announced earlier this month, will help bring broadband to rural communities.

Chris Chinn tells Brownfield COVID-19 has highlighted the already existing need for rural broadband in the state.

“It brought a lot of new people to the table to talk about the challenges that are out there in rural Missouri, and rural America as a whole,” she said.

Chinn said expanding and improving broadband allows more rural residents to work from home during and after the pandemic.

“As more people have the opportunity to tele-work, it’s going to really change where they live,” Chinn said. “If they’re going to be able to tele-commute, they might decide that they don’t want to live in an urban area, and they do want to look at that rural community.”

She said the initiative will provide support to both urban and rural areas with dead zones or slow internet speeds.

Chinn said the initiative is broken into different sections with $20 million for broadband providers expanding the network, $20 million for schools, $5.25 million for Missouri Telehealth and over $2 million to supply libraries with internet devices for learning.

Chinn spoke at the Agribusiness Association Conference Thursday.

MO Ag Director Chris Chinn Interview